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When you feel like giving up…

If you’re a tired and overwhelmed mama today, go read my post on MomLife titled, When You Feel Like Giving Up.

One of my children is currently testing my patience to the max. The other day, it had been an especially trying day, and I was feeling ready to pull my hair out. I walked into my closet and cried out to the Lord in desperation:

“I can’t do this anymore. I’m so tired of dealing with the same issues and attitudes again and again. It seems all of my efforts aren’t going anywhere. I’m ready to give up, God.”

Read the full post on MomLife.

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56 Comments

  • Susan E. says:

    Thanks for your thoughts! I believe we’re having the same kind of day today.

  • Great post Crystal! I think we all feel this way and think it will never end but what a great perspective, thanks for keeping it real 🙂

  • Crystal L. says:

    Thank you for this article, Crystal. Sometimes it feels like other moms have it so together, and I’m barely hanging by a thread of patience. Thank you for being so open with your frustrations and letting other moms facing a tough spot are not alone!

  • Blaire says:

    so encouraging! thanks!

  • Yes thank you for this. I didn’t need the lesson in regards to motherhood (we’re in a fairly easy season at the moment), but I did need it in regards to family in general right now. So thank you.

  • Amy says:

    if you were my facebook friend today, you would’ve read my statuses that sounded very familiar to this… 😛 perfect timing! (as His always is!) thank you!!

  • Laura says:

    I am refeeding my anorexic teen daughter (of course she doesn’t want this) and now truly, truly realize how incredibly wonderful “normal” days were . . . wish I could go back to them. I hope this doesn’t sound condescending, but if you have healthy children, give thanks!

  • Martha Berryman says:

    Bless you Crystal! It’s a wonderful thing when Heavenly Father sends just what we need our way when our heart is crying out for help. And that’s exactly what this post was for me today. Thank you for being an instrument in His hands.

  • Oh don’t we all have those days?! I’m always just a phone call away! 🙂

  • grace says:

    thats too funny….i was just feeling way too overwhelmed as i was typing “money saving mom” into the swagbucks toolbar lol 😉

  • amy brendtro says:

    I don’t mean to make light of your post. But many of the moms out here in the world would love to trade dilemmas with you in a moment. (but not trade children) You see we are moms, Christian moms, who parent children with autism or other special needs. We have cleaned up feces smeared on walls by our children who do not understand what they are doing. We have held them as they shrieked in pain or faced another medical emergency. We have heard description after description that our children are “retarded” and can’t be taught____, only for us and God to show that they can. Please hug your children today. Laugh with them. It is a slice of heaven to be able to do so….

    • Melanie says:

      Amy, though I understand what you are trying to say, I am guessing you don’t really mean you would trade dilemmas. I have been on the other end of having a child with severe physical/mental problems, and that was having a premature child die, instead of live. There are many days when I wished I could have a child with whatever disability, just to be able to hold my little girl instead of dream about her. I’ve been blessed enough to have 5 more “normal” children and there are not many days that go by, that I don’t want to throw my hands up, because I often don’t feel qualified to even raise them. I’ve often wondered, with the lack of patience I have some days, if that is why God took my child who was so weak. I’ve wished I had the gifts of raising a child like yours, but assumed God didn’t see me as qualified. With all that said, I don’t believe it will do any of us a bit of good to compare how our lives match up to others, but instead try and find comfort that God has you right where he best sees fit.

    • Marie Riley says:

      Regardless of what we are dealing with, small or large, the point of the post still rings true: God hasn’t given up on us. He will give you the strength you need to take care of your children, even if you are flat on your face after a long day. You can do this.

    • Jennifer says:

      (((HUGS))) to you. It sounds like you’ve had a difficult time. I hope you are getting some therapy for yourself.

      I have an autistic child.

      And, no, I would not love to trade dilemmas with Crystal today. Why? Because God gives each of what the child that He knows that we need. Just like the parable of the talents. Some can handle a “one-talent” child, some a “two-talent” child, some a “five-talent” child (got that from my Pastor).

      Just because Crystal’s child doesn’t have autism (that we know of, by the way!), doesn’t mean that her situation is any less difficult than ours.

      • Jolene says:

        Hugs, I feel your pain. My child doesn’t have autism, she has tuberous sclerosis, a genetic disorder that causes noncancerous tumors to appear in the body. She has the sensory dysfunctioning that goes with autism however. This year and especially these past couple of weeks have been frustrating. About every 6 months or so, we get to go to about 30 doctor appointments so they could monitor her, on top of therapies etc. We were doing fine and then her family doctor added a dermatologist to the list because of her markings that go with her illness. I’m able to hide most of them, she has a bald spot due to one of her markings, we style her hair different, she has plaque on her fathead, we style her hair differently to cover, but she got the marks on her cheeks and chin now and it breaks my heart to hear my little girl cry,(she’s only 6) that the kids think she’s gross. So in that regard this week has been very trying. I did have a question though for the other moms of special needs. I have 2 normal teenage children and I keep getting told You love Emily more etc because we have to travel 3 hours to see specialists. Is this usual?

        • Jennifer says:

          It is in my world. We have to give special accommodations to our autistic child that we don’t give our typical children, plus I home school him and not my older daughter so I spend more time with him, so she feels the inequality a lot.

          First, while you obviously don’t love Emily more, do acknowledge that things are different. Don’t try to deny it. Just do your best to find time to make each child feel special, not equal.

          Second, I recommend counseling for your typical children. We just did this recently for our daughter and it was a great experience. It’s so easy to focus our efforts on the atypical child that we don’t think about the physical and emotional needs of the typical children. Sometimes they need to let it all out, too. Taking her to the counseling and letting her talk and play for 45 minutes was a great experience for her. She said she wants to go back; we’re just waiting for her to decided when she needs it again.

          God’s blessings to you. It’s so amazing to me how blessed I feel when I hear about others with special needs children. There really is no challenge too great or small. God gives us what we can handle.

    • Jessica says:

      My only sibling was born at 23 weeks and 5 days of gestation. Our Mom miscarried my sister’s twin. My Mom almost died also. Due to her prematurity, my sister is deaf, blind and mentally retarded. My parents still take care of her and she is 29 years old. She wears diapers, needs to be fed, showered, has never said a word and can be violent- she bites, scratches, pinches and hits. My sister had open heart surgery immediately after birth and wasn’t expected to survive the operation. She wasn’t expected to survive at all. She had less than a 1% chance. She was the smallest baby born in Michigan to survive at the time (1982). She weighted 1#, 2 oz. She was hospitalized for 8 months. My Mom’s due date was Christmas Eve. My sister was born on August 28. She came home for the first time on Easter Sunday at almost 8 months old, weighing what a newborn should weigh.

      Those dates are very meaningful, you notice?!

      My parents have struggled with this ever since she was born. I am the older child (32) and I nearly died at birth also due to placental abruption. I have a genius level IQ and my sister wears diapers at age 29 and can’t put her own sock on. I have a masters degree, husband and two beautiful and healthy children and she will never know those things.

      I wouldn’t be who I am today without my sister. My parents have found community in their Catholic church and have finally made peace with God about their lot in life.

      As a child I always wondered why I never had a sister that I could play with and as an adult, it has made me sad to not have that relationship. She can’t be an aunt to my kids, we can’t go Christmas shopping together or gossip over coffee.

      But she has taught many people about love and God’s mercy. My children already know about how people are different and have an amazing level of understanding, especially my 5yo.

      I am have my own challenges with my kids (my 5yo has a serious attitude / argumentive / combative personality and my 17mo doesn’t sleep… ).

      I don’t know how my parents can do it. I know as a sibling what it is like to live in a home like that. We have a lot of mental health issues in our family because of it. But I would never ask God for a change in circumstance about who I am or where I came from because it made me who I am.

      • Amanda says:

        I am the parent of a child with special needs also. Only she doesn’t have a diagnosis because there is no syndrome for her. Just a host of problems, highlighted by MR (or Intellectual Disability). We also have a ‘typical’ son who tries our patience in a completely different way.

        Jessica – as a grown sibling your note really struck a chord with me because I worry so much about my son and the impact of living with his sister has on him and will have on him.

        Amy – hugs to you. My daughter has no function speech and never will. Even though I know better, I automatically look at her peers and if they can talk I think their parents have it so much better than us and how unfair it all is.

        On our worst days (and today is already one of those at 9am) I try to remember to count the blessings my daughter has: she can see, she can hear, she can walk, she can feed herself, she can make her needs know even if she can’t talk and she doesn’t have seizures. I know of so many parents who would think we have nothing to complain about given that list. I say that just to say that I understand your feelings. People with ‘typical’ children just seem to have it so much better right from the get-go.

        I believe everyone’s trials are real to them and Crystal’s struggles with patience are no different than mine in that it is still a struggle and something we can’t overcome without God’s grace.

        Jolene – my son is almost 10, but we also have the the same issues with his perception of how he is loved versus how his sister is loved. From talking to other parents I know, I think this is universal.

        I am sure all of you special parents know this already, but there are so many support groups around that can help you. I am only mentioning it because I run into so many parents who don’t know very much or where to start. Family Support Networks are fairly widespread and serve as a good starting point for information.

        For siblings, you can try to locate a SibShop provider. These tend to gear younger, at least around me (as in my almost 10 year old is a perfect age for the ones in our area). Siblings might also like the book “Views From Our Shoes”

  • Beth says:

    It’s so reassuring to know that other moms have bad days and feel like giving up. My kids are 4, 2, and 1, and sometimes it just seems like there are weeks at a time where I feel like all I do is constantly break up fights, pick up a million toys, and wipe up food, poop, pee, and chocolate milk all day. Some days, as soon as they wake up in the morning I can’t wait for it to be bedtime. I know that sounds mean, but hey, being a mom is a 24/7 job and it is EXHAUSTING! But I also remembered a quote you posted on here one time:
    “You are not managing an inconvenience, you are raising a human being.”
    Thank you so much Crystal for being real and reminding us that our children are a gift from God, and HIS grace and mercies are new every morning, even on the mornings when everyone has dumped their cereal bowls! 😉

  • Caroline says:

    Amy there are people that would trade your life with you too that are going through bad things. Just because there are other people with problems doesn’t mean that Crystal’s feelings aren’t real or justified.

  • su says:

    So, I had literally just finished saying to my husband–“Why is he acting that way?”–regarding our son. Our son had a full blown temper tantrum for over an hour. I didn’t go in the closet, I went in the car and sat. Being overwhelmed once and a while or frustrated does NOT make us ungrateful or blind to others’ problems. I find great comfort to know that I am not the only one who has those days. I feel like a failure some days. I appreciate Crystal’s honesty and need to hear I’m not the only one. My children are a gift and a blessing. Now, I must go because my son is starting his tantrum again.

  • Michelle says:

    Caroline,

    Please do not belittle Amy. She genuinely shared that it is beyond normal and hard, incredibly hard, with special needs children, and she’s right. I have a chronically ill child and one with Asperger’s; their current lives and futures are never going to be normal. I have fallen asleep in tears so many times over their situations. College? Nope. Getting a job? Not possible. Friendships? Too stessful and awkward for one, so sadly. What will happen when they are too old for my insurance, when my husband and I die? I would never ever trade them for even a second but absolutely wish they weren’t so afflicted. Please, if you haven’t lived with this, don’t judge. Amy and her family needs your prayers and support not condemnation.

  • Julie Perrotta says:

    Wow Crystal we are dealing with a lot with our son between behavior and medical. Sooooo needed to hear this today. Thank you

  • Rachel says:

    Thank you Crystal. This blesses me and it should bless my 6 year old too . . . we’ve been dealing with so much of the ‘I’m too big to be told what to do’ attitude AGAIN (he’s so independent, this started showing up when he learned to walk!). I alternate between dispairing of him ever growing up to be a decent person let alone a Godly man . . . and looking foward to seeing what God will do with such a strong natured man.

    Oh what a stretching experience this motherhood thing is!!

  • Kas says:

    Thank you Crystal! I must say this is truly a blessing and right on time! What great words of encouragement. Regardless of our situations, we are all parents, and God never gives us more than we can bear. Rather than compare my situation or child to another person’s situation or child, I’d rather praise Him for blessing me with a child. There are many who will never feel what it’s like to have that intense love that parents have for their children and vice versa. So, through my times of wanting to pull out my hair, scream, cry, or whatever, I would rather remind myself of the grace He has given me and the many chances He has given me and still continues to give me. God bless you!!!

  • Nicole says:

    Crystal, you are amazing! Thank you for the AWESOME reminder of what a forgiving and grace-filled heavenly Father we have, even on days we least deserve it!!! I love your blog/video tips/ideas! I am a homeschooling/work at home mom to 3 (6th grade, Kindergarten and a 19 month old) with another little one on the way! You keep me inspired!!! THANKS!

  • I can’t take credit for this but it plays over and over again in my head:

    “when you think you’re out of patience, think how patient God must be.”

    and…. deep breath…. I can keep going because a *very* patient God loves me, and loves my family.

  • cat says:

    wonderful post. I love when we are able to walk away with new insight.

  • Lou says:

    We’re dealing with a lot of attitude, too. I would love to hear about your approach. We have a very strong-willed child and not much seems to work. We have those days often.

    I also want to second what many have said: just because one is having a rough day doesn’t mean blessings are forgotten. God gives us what we can handle and everyone has a cross to bear. Compassion is key, as we tend to always think the grass is always greener.

  • I feel this way most days… our daughters were adopted from foster care and our oldest has a lot of issues due to her horrific experience (and it was not even as bad as many).

    I am reminded by God all the time of where she could be and the road she would be going down.. it’s scary..

    Sometimes I have to be reminded that they the things she does are not her fault. Yes, we need to teach her what’s right, but it needs to be tempered with love and compassion, something God does for me everyday, too.

    She is a wonderful child and I am glad God allowed her another chance at something better.. because she is going to do big things for Him someday and He has given us the privilege to walk along side her.

    jen

  • kelley says:

    we all have days and trying times at some point. thank you for the great post. in these times is when we grow closer to God. the closet is my refuge/prayer place too. 🙂

  • Joy says:

    I wish I could say it gets easier as they get older, but it’s just different struggles (and attitudes!). Sigh! I had a meltdown the other night in my basement laundry room after I dropped a jar of salsa and it shattered into a gazillion pieces. That’s when I had a similar tearful conversation with God. I have been so overwhelmed the last few weeks dealing with some mental health issues with one of my sons along with the failing health of a family member. But I haven’t given up. Just have a new perspective on things. Sometimes a good cry really helps!

  • Kylie Phelps says:

    This was perfect for me today. I am so glad that someone else cries in her closet 🙂 My son learned a new word this week, “upset,” because I was crying. I pray every day that I can become a better mother to my kids so they can love God more than I do. It is good to admit to each other that we are not perfect. We can all one up each other with who has it worse, but the truth is, even in the perfect situation, raising children is really really hard. Thank you for letting me admit I am weak and without God I would not make it. I needed that more than anything today.

  • Lindsey says:

    Thank you for linking to what you wrote! It is hugely refreshing to see this side of you. Not that I delight in you struggling, but because I seriously find myself often comparing myself to you and feeling like you have semi-perfect children or something. I know you say not to do this over and over…and over…but it’s sometimes difficult not to. So thank you for keepin it real. I didn’t grow up in a super conservative environment so now that I find myself surrounded by such blogs I tend to think that they have “child training” down with super obedient children and so if I’m doing this Christian parenting thing the way they say to then my kids should be little soldiers too. Anyway, you reminded me that that’s not real life and my children are just that – children. So thank you for sharing and also for showing a wonderful way to handle difficult times with our children.

    • Jennifer says:

      “Like” Button!

    • sarah says:

      This comment reminded me of a book I just finished reading. It’s called “give them grace” (I forget the names of the authors right now). I don’t agree with everything in the book, and it definitely started some good discussions in my mom’s group over the authors’ viewpoints on parenting, but the last few chapters are pretty awesome. They go into depth about how even our struggles with parenting can and do glorify god for different reasons, and that we can’t assume that just because children are “well-behaved” that they love God. Basically, god is glorified in our weaknesses because it glorifies his strength. It’s a great thing to keep in mind!

      • Lindsey says:

        I recently read this book – ‘Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus’, well, not all of it, but what I did read really got me thinking so glad you posted this (I am the Lindsey who wrote this comment). In the conservative blogosphere it is SO easy to get caught up in what many call “child training” and in the book the author tells us to yes, give our children the laws of God as God commands us to do, but shower them and everything we say and do with grace. Bring everything back to Jesus because “everything that isn’t gospel is law.” Anyhow, it’s a great book to get you thinking and I’m constantly reminded now that just because my children say the right things doesn’t mean they are truly regenerate so I need to constantly give them grace, lead them back to Jesus, PRAY and try not to raise uppity moralistic children. Whew! That is a lot! Lol

  • Gretchen says:

    Thank you for sharing this…Echoing others here, but sometimes I feel like I’m the only one with imperfect children. Smile… But as I heard a pastor recently say… we’re all imperfect parents, raising imperfect children, only by the Grace of God.

  • Casey G. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Today is the DAY I need encourangment. I even can’t help yelling at both of my kids several times, this never happened before!! Thanks for giving me hope and strength in this rough moment.

  • Nick says:

    My wife and I have been struggling with many days like that. Of course, my wife is the rock who seems to handle ten times the daily grind that I could ever imagine handling.

    But we find the simple act of pausing for a moment and consciously thinking to ourselves “count your blessings – you are blessed to have what you have and be who you are” during those seemingly chaotic times helps ease some of the frustrations for us.

  • AJ says:

    I have 6 children under the age of 8 and my husband is a full-time student and basketball player for the university he attends (so it’s like I’m a poor single mom). I have had many days when I want to quit my job as a mother because it’s so overwhelming, but it definitely helps to know that so many others are feeling the same way and actually have it worse than I do. One priest told me to start a “Things I’m Thankful For” journal and write in it everyday. It really does help to think about all the good things in our lives. I tell my husband, it could be much worse.

  • MaryEllen says:

    Running to Jesus was the right thing to do! It’s all any of us can do. All of our situations are different, and we all face a different set of challenges every day, but no matter what, we all need Him desperately. “For without [Him] we can do nothing…”

  • Kelly says:

    Thank you for this!! I just had a couple frustrating days with my little girl, and this was exactly what I needed to hear!

  • Angelica says:

    Crystal, thanks for this post. This school year has been especially difficult for me with my son who has trouble controlling his behavior (ADHD). The school doesn’t see my funny, gentle, brilliant child. They only see that he moves too much and “refuses” to obey. Along with the additional stresses attending a new baby, dealing with my other family duties, working full time, and going to school part time, I have often felt that I am swimming against the current and about to drown. That is when I pause to pray, and God throws me a life preserver (literally!) Thank you for the reminder to pray for guidance. God bless you and your family!

  • Dawn says:

    I am a special needs mom. I am also a mom to a typical child. I spent my working career as a hospice nurse.
    One of the best insights I can give you is something I heard long ago:
    “You can’t measure pain”
    The anguish felt by parents regardless of the situation is very real and very deserved, whatever they are facing. This was a beautiful, real, honest essay. To diminish it by trying to calibrate the appropriate level of human suffering to reach out to God is a sure sign of needing to do the same.

  • LJ says:

    AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME. Thank you so much for this reminder. I had chill bumps reading it. Which can only mean that it resonated so strongly in me. This little tidbit of wisdom, I can only hope, will come to mind when my 2 year old… heck, even when my husband, is getting on my nerves. 🙂

  • Thank you for writing this posts. It really helps me put things into perspective with my trying season as a mother! Blessings to you and your family!

  • Francine Giant says:

    Thank you for this post and the comments, I needed both! Life has been a major struggle here, I always need the reminder that God hasn’t given up on me, so I need to do the same for those around me. As Dory says “Just keep swimming”

  • Holly says:

    I loved the article and needed to hear that others also have the same problems, I am a firm believer that God sends you only what you can handle, but I find that I need a time out from issues sometimes to calm down and reface the issue. I have a very strong 4 year old son and today has been one of those times that mommy needed a time out.

  • Julie Golemon says:

    I can so relate to this for I raised 3 by myself and have been there, pulling- hair- out- days. They are grown now and raising kids of their own… think I will send a copy of this to them… thanks.

  • Tshanina says:

    I love hearing His still, small voice!

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